tv Charlie Rose PBS December 6, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
this tax issue, and he looks like he has learned the lesson from various debt negotiations, gej talks and the negotiations of 2011 and he's not giving an inch for the top tax earners expiring this year. >> rose: we conclude this evening with a conversation with stuart stevens former chief strategist and advisor to governor mitt romney and the romney campaign. >> working for governor romney was an extraordinary privilege. and it really was an arar. and i think that he was in this race for the right reasons. he was in it out of a sense of what he could do for the country. to be a small part of that was a great privilege. but i think that republicans need to, we have a good menial, we have to do a better job of getting it out.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. begin this evening with politic. less than a month remains for lawmaker to reach a deal before the fiscal cliff deadline. the whitehouse open sists tax rates must rise on higher incomes in order to balance spending cuts but republican leadership remains committed to extending the bush tax cuts for
all a tax bracket. brainer offer his response to the president. in an interview with julianna goldman of bloomberg news obama called the boehner plan quote out of balance. >> i think that we have the potential of getting a deal done, but it's going to require what i talked about during the campaign which is a balanced responsible approach to deficit reduction that can help give businesses certainty and make sure that the country grows. and unfortunately the speaker's proposal right now is still out of balance. he talks for example about $800 billion worth of revenues but he says he's going to do that by lowering rates. when you look at the math, it doesn't work. >> rose: and here is the president talking about why it's essential for him that there be tax increases for the most wealthy among us. >> i don't think that the issue right now has to do with sitting in a room. the issue right now that's
relevant is the acknowledgment that if we're going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we've already made and further reforms and entitlements that i'm prepared to make, that we're going to have to see the rates on the top 2% go up. and we're not going to be able to get a deal without it. >> rose: and the president talking about the link when our economic circumstance and our national security. >> the most important thing we do for national security though, is to get our economy on track. and we are in a very strong position. as i travel around the world, it's fascinating. european leaders, asian leaders, they all say to me, america actually is poorest to be the world leader for another century. if we can fix some of this
political dysfunction. and there are some very simple steps that we can take. number one, let's not raise taxes on middle class families. that's something we could do right now. number two, let's have a smart long term deficit reduction program that includes us doing some things right now that would help with job creation. number three let's not manufacture another debt ceiling crises and number four let's make sure that we're making the kind of investments in education and work force development, energy independence, infrastructure and research and development that ensures that we're innovating as we have in the past. >> rose: julianna goldman of bloomberg joins me from washington and she interviewed president obama on tuesday. that was an excerpt from her interview and i'm pleased to have her on this program. and congratulations first of all. >> charlie thanks very much. it was a great opportunity. >> rose: tell me how you
found the president. not in terms of the sort of term temperment in terms of where his mind is set at this moment. >> there was a little bit of chitchat before we started the interview and i had the opportunity to congratulate him for the first time since his election. and i said you've been a little busy. he said yes no trip to disneyworld for me. so he seemed a little tired. he seemed a little frustrated at the pace of how these negotiations are going. but he also came across as the cool, calm, no drama obama that we've come to know from him as a candidate and as president. he really was very firm. we kept trying to push him on this tax issue, and he looks like he has learned the lesson from various debt negotiations, budget talks from. debt ceiling, negotiations of 2011. and he is not giving an inch here when it comes to letting tax rates for top earners expire at the end of this year.
>> rose: why does he think and why do you think the president, i mean the speaker is not prepared to go there and be able to extract something else he wants from the president because clearly the president is projecting the idea that this is not something that's going to happen, any giving up of the tax break, the tax cut it is extending the bush tax cuts for the wealthy. >> because i think one of the thing that this ultimately does come down, this set of negotiations is entitlement. ultimately that is where, that is what's driving the deficit and the debt problem that the country has found itself in. so there's a math issue but there's also a political issue for the president. he knows ultimately the entitlement cuts he's going to have to agree to are going to hit middle class americans. and he needs to be able to show that when that happens that he's asking the rich to pay a little bit more. and so he showed a lot of
flexibility in the interview. while he's saying that he's standing firm on taxes, he was showing flexibility on what those rates might end up being, also on entitlements such as raising the medicare eligibility age, changing the cost of living adjustment for social security. that was all on the table in the summer of 2011. it was part of the proposal that republicans put forth this week. but he knows that in order to be able to agree to that ultimately he needs to make sure that he's extracting something from republicans which are these tax cuts. >> rose: if they go off the fiscal cliff they do not reach a negotiation, a compromise by december 31st, who does the whitehouse think will get the blame? >> well i think it's not just the whitehouse charlie. the whitehouse and republicans are ultimately going to be blamed for this and that's why you're starting to see some fissures amongst republican rank and file you had today 40 house
republicans signing a letter and saying they think all options should be on the table, including tax cuts and entitlements. it doesn't seem to be moving. house speaker john baron. but what it could ultimately do is start to lay the ground work for providing him cover to be able to back of of off his insistence they're not going to raise rates on top earners. what that letter shows i think that republicans are acknowledging that the president does have the leverage in these negotiations. over the summer privately republicans their aides were saying they didn't think the president would let it get to that point. he's chaffed becauseat's what she's shown to do in previous budget negotiations the debt ceiling back in december of 2010 when he extended the bush era tax rates after saying he wouldn't. but now what republicans are saying is hey, it does look like the president is willing to hit that fiscal cliff dead lie, and you know that's because in part
the president is the best messenger. this is the key issue that he campaigned on and he's continuing essentially to campaign on it. >> rose: how much pressure is the president getting from quote the left and his party? >> well this is another concern. if you talk to people who are, have been familiar with negotiations in the past, they think that the president, they're sort of scratching their heads on the strategy of coming out so aggressively with asking for $1.6 trillion in new revenues when back in the summer of 2011 only $800 billion to $1.2 trillion was on the table. and so they think that part of the concern here is that the president might be boxing himself in that when it does come time to bringing that number for revenues down when he's going to have to painful concessions on entitlement that he could see some backlash from progress sids within his own party. you've already seen warning shots from richard trump essentially saying look the people that are going to be hit
hardest is the coalition that elected you and you can't let them down either. >> rose: but does the president in the end think when you look at the sequestration, look what happens at the defense and other budget items being cut, at the prepared to do that in the end? >> well one of the, one of the, part of the white house proposals actually deferring the sequestration to tie that to another sort of trigger for an overhaul of the tax code to get tax reform done by the end of 2013. you know, it's like we haven't been talking that much about the sequester. i think there's a sense that even if we do get to january 1st. everyone talks about the fiscal cliff but it really is more like a slope, maybe a green bunny slope for when you go skiing, you know. it's not necessarily even a blubl black diamond because the thinking is that if you get
there, that's going to be the impetus that both sides need to sit down and get a deal and ultimately it's going to mean republicans voting for a tax cut because rates will have risen for the maitle class and top earners. >> rose: you sound like a steer. >> well i would like to have a ski vacation this winter but i'm not sure anyone will be able to get out on the town. >> rose: one other question and i'll talk about other things saw rounding the whitehouse and decisions the president has to make although his total focus is on this. ceos are coming to the whitehouse has they did today, influential ceos some who gave indications they were not voting for the president in the general election. are they having a different message for him than they had before? do they seem more inkleined to support him where he is on these important issues that might lead to compromise? >> well charlie we've talked
about before on this show the relationship between the president and the business community and however the last four years. it's been a pretty rocky relationship. you've seen over the last few week especially the whitehouse trying to make amends, bringing ceos, what they want to see is them publicly backing his call for a balanced deal. when you speak to ceo's as they're leaving whitehouse what they say is look we understand we're going to have to pay higher taxes. we are the wealthy that the president are talking about that are probably going to see their rates go up to 39.6% many. we're willing to do that as long as the deal is balanced which in washington speak means made with significant entitlement cuts that really do get to the heart of the debt issue. >> rose: the president also is concerned because at the whitehouse all problems come there that have not been solved elsewhere. what is the sense of how serious they see the chemical weapons
situation in syria and how imminent it is that they think the syrians might do something that would cause the united states and allies to have to do something. >> this gets to being able to walk and chew gum at the same time, being able to deal with the fiscal cliff but also potential chemical weapon crises in syria. if the whitehouse wasn't concerned the president wouldn't have gone out and delivered that speech earlier this week. >> rose: finally there's this thing that he has to continue with. he's got a new administration coming up in january. we're now in december. who is handling that transition, who is setting up the process of selecting a new secretary of state, a new secretary of defense, a new chief of staff, a new head of the cia? >> so peat rauss is a deputy chief of staff senior advisers, he's playing a central role on
all of this. based on our reporting it look like what the president is going to do is first announce his security team and that could come as early as next week so he would be announcing at the same time secretary of state, defense secretary, cia among the names. it's not super news but state senator john kerry, un ambassador susan rice. i asked the president whether or not he felt the republican criticisms and attacks on susan rice has sort of boxed him in a corner, make it so that he looks weak if he doesn't go ahead and nominate her. he tried to brush that aside but said, sang her praises and also said he hasn't made an announcement yet. so there's a bit of a trying to shuffle positions around here because one decision, if you name susan rice secretary of state then that opens the door, officials are saying, you could see kerry as defense secretary or he could bring in republican former senator chuck hagel is
also a name for secretary and also potentially a name for c.i.a. as well. >> rose: in term of the treasury the name you most frequently higher is the chief of staff jack lou. is that the name you're hearing the most. >> that's the name we're hearing but it gets calculated because jack lou is a principal negotiator in the fiscal cliff talks. he was a negotiator back in the debt limit talks back in the summer of 2011 as well. this is one of the reasons why you might not see the president nominate the treasury secretary and name his economic team for some time maybe until even they get this fiscal cliff mess behind them because if they nominate jack lou that could tie him up for confirmation hearings and they don't want to risk that. >> rose: they have somebody say this to me when i was down in washington for the kennedy honors, if lyndon johnson was president he would have him what the whitehouse and he would lock the doors and say we're not going to left you out until you get a compromise. when the president hears that
kind of talk, how does he respond? >> well i tried to push him on that in the interview. it's pretty striking that just the night before speaker boehner had been to the whitehouse for the annual christmas party. they didn't even exchange any pleasantries are, they didn't have a conversation. it shows you also how bad, the bad blood that still exists from that summer of 2011 debt talks. but the president when asked that he brushed it aside. he said oh no it's not about getting into a room. this is about republicans needing to acknowledge that rates have to go up on top earners. but look when you talk to ceos you talk to lawmakers everybody acknowledges that ultimately this is a deal that's going to have to be hashed out and negotiated between the president and speaker boehner face to face. i think one of the considerations for the whitehouse and one of the lessons that they learned from last year is that when the president speaker boehner engaged in these secret talks behind closed doors, they each alienated members of their own
party who they needed for a deal. that's something they're trying to work around and avoid, and so probably not putting the two of them in a room until they think that they're going to be able to come out holding hands with a successful deal. >> rose: but the president seemed to me to not believe in schmoozing as much as other people and other presidents v he doesn't believe it's as productive as others suggest. >> well he's shown that it's not his style. and so that's, that's what's going to be interesting to see is what is his style for hard line negotiating because over the last four years he hasn't forced congress to come up to this kind of dead line, to come up to this so-called cliff. and so we'll see if they think that they can get away with not using the lbj type of texas style and still get to the cliff, they go off of it and see if republicans wind up being the ones who take the blame and people don't end up saying this
is the result of a lack of leadership on the part of the president. >> rose: julianna goldman, i'm not surprised the president chose you for the first interview. so thank you for coming and sharing that and other things with us this evening. thank you very much. >> thank you for having me, charlie. >> rose: whitehouse correspondent from bloomberg newspapers. when we come back stuart stevens one of the principal strategists for the romney campaign. stay with us. stuart stevensess here, he served as mitt romney top campaign strategist in the presidential elections. he wrote a piece in "the washington post" last week called a good man, the right fight. in it he argued when mitt romney stood on stage with president obama, it wasn't about television ads or whiz bang turnout technologies, it was about fundamental republican ideas versus fundamental democratic ideas. it was about lower taxes or higher taxes less government or more government, more freedom and less freedom. and republican ideals mitt romney carried the day.
stevens was a controversial figure throughout the campaign. he drew criticism externally for being too cautious in defining his candidate and internally for being a sometimes divisive and material figure. in august a new republic profiled him as friendship with mitt romney. the article was published under the title the square and the flare. i've known stuart stevens for a long time and i am pleased to have him here at this table this one of his first conversations about the politics 2012, who won, who lost and why. thank you for coming. >> well i can clarify that. we lost. >> rose: but when did you think you were going to lose? >> we're always very realistic about it contrary to some roorts. we thought we had a good chance to win. after the storm i never had a good feeling. not that the storm impacted things that much per se but these races, a race like this is a lot like an mba game and it's
all about ball control at the end. we went from, in every incumbent i've ever defeated been involved in, well you had to really prosecute an argument at the end. we went from having these big rallies around the country to literally sitting in hotel rooms and this is nothing we could do about it. i don't think at all that ever had to do with chris christie. i think that's now -- >> rose: you saw the president being presidential. >> and the conversation was about the storm. it was not about what we were talking about. >> rose: someone said to me that stuart stevens believed from day one until the election night that somehow the election of president obama, re-election would not happen because of the economy. he always believed that that would be the issue that determined the election. was it? >> well, the economy was a very
large issue. one of the interesting thing that happened was after the democratic convention which was very successful, i'll credit that. the right track of the country began to go up. and those that thought that the president was doing a good job on the economy went up. part of this is the democrats got energized and they were reminded what they liked about the president. of course president clinton did a good job. and the right track wrong track, he was right track of the country wrong track of the country among the electorates that actually voted was about 20 plus points closer than it was at the beginning of the race. so every campaign has to have a theory, and a rationale. and one of the key rationales of this campaign was worst economic crises since the depression, he inherited it but what has he done for it. when you look at the exit polls
on those that cared about the economy the most, governor romney won. there just wasn't enough to win the election. >> rose: did you have the right theory of the case, though, in terms of what the impact of all of the mosaic of american politics that make up the electorate. >> well, we talked about other issues. i mean he talked a lot about entitlement reform. big ideas. that was what he wanted to talk about. that's why he ran. and i hope that people will continue to be part of the conversation, how many big ideas he put out there with a really fair degree of specificity. so these thing are never binary, they're never one thing or another thing. the president did a great job, the president's campaign did a great job getting their supporters out but also delivering a message to their supporters which is very key.
i think that it was similar to the bush campaign in that we were able, there weren't a lot of you been decided voters. we spoke in 04, we spoke to our voters and got them out. but look, they won we lost they did a better job. >> rose: and you've said the republican party has to change. we'll come to that in a minute. i want to come to some questions raised about decisions that were made. go back to the framing on the campaign. and in terms of the primaries per se, did this candidate go too far to attract the right in what he said about immigration. >> you know, on immigration specifically, it's a very complicated issue. and if you look -- the republicans obviously have a lot of problem with hispanic voters, we have to do a lot better and work on it on a number of fronts. immigration is part of that. it's not the only issue.
and in fact when you look at the obamacare, the television ads that the obama campaign ran, they stressed obamacare more than they did immigration. which is i think interesting. i think that when you look at the generic vote that a republican was getting before the primaries which wasn't great, under 30% and the generic vote after the primaries, it was pretty much the same. so i think it's difficult to say that the primaries per se damaged because i don't think it penetrated that much. people who were really watching this were republicans. now that said i think had a candidate taken on immigration reform as a key tenant and i hope that person would have been advantaged with hispanics. they would have looked at them in different light. i think it was more the larger problems that the republican
party has on immigration. >> rose: even larger than imdpraition, do you think the republican brand has a problem and did that problem hurt the candidate because in the last debates, especially the last one, it was almost like governor romney wanted to say to america you know there's a lot of agreement here. he was appearing more moderate than he appeared in what he said during the primary campaign. now part of that you expect. it's always said you tack to the center in the primaries. but it seemed the point that he realized, you know, that maybe the republican brand -- >> republican party have a lot of issues but they also have a lot of pluses. that's the reason i wrote this piece. i come from the school that it's easy to stand up for your side when things are going well. but it's motion important when things are not going well.
and i think that it's important to look at what we did, the campaign did right, republicans did right and not get into a mind set that it was all wrong or disqualified by a loss. because that's the case. now we need to do a much better job, and you saw this last night with congressman ryan and senator rubio in their speeches. >> rose: they clearly are marking the beginning of the redefining the republican party and launching their own campaign. >> we need to do a better job. reaching out to a number of segments. >> rose: hispanic, women, young, african american. >> we did better with young voters. but i think -- >> rose: better than what, john mccain. >> yes. >> rose: but that's not the standard. >> fair enough. but i think it was probably reflective also of the economy because it's so difficult to get a job now for college graduates.
but you know what, i think that rather than looking at i think in individual segments, hat hopefully it will be about the business of come vague a message that will bring a lot of people. and i think that exchangers we should start looking at it in segments. it's dangerous in the sense that it's not how our society should operate. >> rose: you're not prepared to accept the idea that the democrats had a better campaign organization and a better strategy and a better execution, or does the fact that they won by definition say that? >> i think by the fact that they won it says that. >> rose: so they -- >> it was a campaign they could have lost but they won. >> rose: so the president's staff beat the governor's staff. >> i would say they ran a better, they ran, the person who wins always runs a better
campaign in my book. the faster, the person who wins the mile was the faster runner. i think they deserve a tremendous amount of credit. we have very different tasks and i think this is important. that it's sort of difficult to step back in time, but in june of 2011 when governor romney announced, he had about 24, 25% of the republican party. that's it. there was always this will he ever break out 25%. at that time president obama was at 48% of the country. so our task was to go out and win the primaries to these very difficult races, very difficult. and then gather a majority of the country. his task was hold on to the votes that he had and grow it just a little bit. those are two monumentally different task. and there's a reason that no
incumbent president has lost in modern history without being primaried. when you have an organization -- >> rose: jimmy cartered was primaried by ted kennedy. >> as was bush 41 by pat buchanan. when you have an organization with that much money and they of course have more money than anyone else has ever had because they did away with federal funding for the general election. and an ability to focus on one task which is to win the general election. it's formidable advantage. we had a similar advantage in 04 in president bush's campaign. it's just how it works. >> rose: when people define this election before it happened way back during the primaries as the republicans were choosing their candidate, the president did not have that kind of primary challenge so he could gear up for the general early on. and they had an even we thought the republicans had an advantage in that at that time because of
super pacs. the question was is this an selection in which there's a referendum on the president or will this be on referendum on the future? was it a referendum on the future therefore the president won or did it become a referendum on mitt romney and he lost? >> well i think these things aren't binary. i think they're always a mix of both. the whole referendum choice thing was something that was always a bit of a head scratcher because all referendums are choices and all choices are referendums. when you run against an incumbent by definition it's a referendum. the governor put out very specific plans on healthcare, on medicare reform, on taxes, on defense spending. some more specific than others but i think that it gave people a sense what he was going to do. he started out in the fall of
2011, very early. we always saw this as a choice because it is a choice. there are two people on the ballot, it's a choice but also the referendum in you had to decide whether you wanted to fire this person or rehigher this person. it's never one or the other. and the governor gave a speech on the enterprise and spoke on specifics on the need for debt reform. he presented a choice the people could look at. at the same time it's also a reference dumb. it's both. and at the end you know in the public polling, his favorables were similar to the president's. which was very interesting. it was something that the other campaign i think did not expect to happen. partly because of his great debate. >> rose: you were in charge of that debate were you not. >> no, no, not at all.
beth myers ran our whole debate operation and did an extraordinary -- >> rose: she also made the decision to choose -- >> that's right. >> rose: you weren't making every decision in that campaign which was one of the criticism that came out about you is he's wearing too many hats here. he's a strategist, doing this and that and therefore he's over he can -- exstanded and therefore not good for the candidate. >> not at all. you got things written in campaigns and campaigns are written a lot like sports which i think is kind of fun. most on the stuff you hear on sports radio or you read is generally wrong if you're ion side the team. >> rose: my impression is you do the campaign as sports. >> i've always said i like the winning and losing aspect. >> rose: that's exactly right. >> i like it more to win. i'm reminded of this the last two weeks. but this campaign was a very
deep emotional commitment. >> rose: for you. >> absolutely. and i think by the majority of people who worked on the campaign. >> rose: what do you mean by that and why. >> we're really drawn to governor romney. he's really an extraordinary individual. and talented. the need in the moment for the country. but throughout his career people who have worked with governor romney have been extraordinarily impressed with him. and he has a graciousness, he has a sense of perspective to the moment. a sense that when someone would screw up in the campaign, he was always, you know, whatever an advance guy or something that i did and we made a lot of mistake. >> rose: as he famously said stuart i said 47% not you. >> he would always go out of his way to make people feel better. and of course the wonderful
family, ann is extraordinary and the sons. so i think you were drawn into this. >> rose: here's the problem and you wonder where you were when this, in may, june, july, before the conventions. they were defining you and you should have responded and you didn't. and you had the money to do it from all the super pacs not that you control them and you can't legally but they know what's going on. and everybody said at the time the obama campaign is defining mitt romney. and they think it's going to be about obama but it's going to be about romney and he became after that the bain candidate and you never overcame that. do you buy that. >> not really by virtue of the fact that at the end, his favorables were as high as the president. >> rose: at the end. how might they have been if you had gotten off to a better start and extended through your
convention. >> it's not like we didn't think about this. the problem with campaigns -- >> rose: that's the point. >> the problem with campaigns or the reality of campaigns is you can't do a lot of things at once. so we came out of the primary with a very, i mean we found that a number of people that that he was a catholic who was intense contraception just because of the confusion of the primaries. and we needed to do a number of things that once. when we looked at this and we tested it extensively, what people most wanted to know is what governor romney would do as president. which makes sense. i like this. but what's he going to do. >> rose: i can support that by saying that was the complaint about both campaigns throughout the campaign. throughout the campaign we do not know what they intend to do if elected. >> i think it came down to some
people under the situations. so we made the decision to go with a series of ads called day one ads that talk specifically about what he would do. and it wasn't that we didn't think other things needed to be done as well but that was the thing that to get people to listen to him, they needed to have a sense that he was going to do something for him that was relevant to their lives. which makes sense the way that we interact with people. >> rose: i don't understand. you understand this. is it possible to do both to make it feel relevant through their lives at the same time to make sure you're defining yourself rather than being defined by your opponent. >> it's very difficult when the other side has a lot of money and is able to run two and three spots to every one you do because they can do a couple things at once. so we ran those spots in the spring and then when the obama campaign attacked us, which they did around june, we responded. >> rose: was it just june. wasn't it earlier than that. >> in serious, it's always you
know what the super pacs are doing and what the campaign are doing. voters of course have trouble seeing that distinction as well. we did stopped. you go through and look at these ads we responded ferociously. that's when we ran the ads of hillary clinton saying shame on you barack obama. but it is difficult to establish a person and to be able to do all of these things at once. and we had to be make very tough choices, and try to do what we were doing well. and with the hope that by the time we got into the debates, that the impression that the governor could lead would be one that could your him to victory. and we lost the chain so you can say we weren't successful in that. but i think that when you look at his image versus the president's image, i mean what they thought that they could do
which was completely turn people off to mitt romney through these attacks many of which were completely false, didn't happen. but it's -- >> rose: didn't happen? i mean it's clearly that you guys struggled against this bain criticism throughout this campaign. >> no, we did. and he struggled against the economy throughout the campaign. and he struggled against job loss throughout the campaign. campaigns always have struggles and they're always this tug of war. >> rose: the economy was there. the question of his definition you could have affected and i'm not sure what more he could have done during the campaign about the economy. you could have done something more about the definition of your candidate and telling an american man -- >> listen, mitt romney is a wonderful individual. and extraordinary. >> rose: he think the country got that. >> i think some people did and some didn't. well we lost so you know. the problem with losing a campaign besides losing is that
there's always by definition whatever you did you didn't do well enough. so because the opposite reason you do anything is to win. >> rose: what about your convention. did that go the way you intended it to go? >> we thought it was going to be four days not three days. and that had a ripple effect throughout the convention. it's interesting, and i don't understand this but both conventions got less viewership than they did four years ago which no one presented a credible case as to why. our convention got less coverage from the very beginning than the obama convention did which i guess makes sense to some degree, he's president. and also we're still in this coverage of the storm which was having a tremendous impact. i think the ann romney, there were a lot of highlights to this convention. ann romney's speech.
i thought governor christie gave a good speech, keynote. >> rose: clint eastwood. >> clint eastwood, it was very good of him to come out. it was good to get hollywood people to come out. he felt strongly about this and he wanted to do it. he spoke as to why he decided to do what he did. >> rose: he made the decision at the last moment didn't he. he saw a chair. >> he asked for a chair. >> rose: he asked for it. at what time. >> as he was standing to go on stage. >> rose: exactly. he came all with this idea. he didn't call you up two days before and said this w ishat we're going to do. >> no, he said -- >> rose: did he say them. >> not in the same format. >> rose: you're being nice. it was just bear enough. >> he did this improv had never been discussed. it's exactly what he said. >> rose: when you saw it
happen you knew that the audience did not see some things that you wanted them to see which would define your candidate including the film. >> well two things on this. let me answer. i think that our voters like clint eastwood more than they didn't like clint eastwood. >> rose: most people like college eastwood more than they don't like him. >> at the end of the day it was like was this good programming. i think it's more clint eastwood's up there. to a degree it's a distraction. it's bad. >> rose: you have to ask yourself about the omission. it's not commission it's omission. >> we made the -- >> rose: people like that. define your candidate. >> i don't know if people realize it but the networks would not commit to showing the film. nbc said they would. but the others had said that probably not. >> rose: what do you think would have happened if the film
came on at 10:10. >> they would have showed the opening and abc and cbs would have talked to about it. i don't begrudge them. they don't want to turn over air time for ten minutes to let you run a film. so that was why we didn't show the film. >> rose: did it hurt you or not. >> the clint eastwood thing. >> rose: the clint eastwood thing and this mitt romney's speech. >> i thought mitt romney gave a terrific speech. he had exactly the speech he wanted to give. if you go back and look at the curve. fred barn said it was the best delivered speech and best speech he's given. >> rose: did you think this. >> yes. >> rose: best speech he ever made. >> yes. >> rose: you don't think he should have paid more attention to foreign policy and americans in harm's way in foreign countries. >> he spoke of foreign policy in
the speech. this was a speech that was designed for living rooms more than it was designed for the hall. to speak to people, to get a chance to tell people more about himself and about what he would do for the country. >> rose: that was good. he needed to do that because people thought the conventions are how you define yourself and we had that campaign speech and that film did that in fact through the eyes of other people bain and elsewhere, companies he had taken over. there's also this and this is an important time for you at this table to say this is what was right and this is what was wrong and this is what we might have done, this is what we didn't do and this is the great misconception which is a myth this is all part of this conversation. did you look at a speech that you had commissioned and not include any of it and throw it away. >> rose: no, that absolutely didn't happen. >> rose: you have seen that reported. >> i have. and you know in these situations you have a choice to go and correct these thing on the record. i mean the writer of that piece. >> rose: peter.
>> no, mike allen. >> rose: mike allen wrote the piece for politico. >> yes. and mike couldn't have been better about it. it was totally stand up. he said do you want to respond to it. you don't want to get on a back and forth on this. i would just say that there were a number of talented writers who contributed to the campaign on an ongoing basis. did tremendous work, tremendous work. we never in the campaign, the same with spots we had different change of people. we all said this is a romney product, not this is by x, this is by y. and there were contributions from a number of writers to the governors. he gave the speech he wanted to give but this was always about the speech that he wanted to give. and in no way did i -- >> rose: i would hope that would be true. i would assume that would be
true. i don't think that governor romney got to where he is by not being able to forcefully tell people what he thought he should do. >> particularly when it comes to writers that's never been a problem. >> rose: so he gave a speech he wanted to give and anybody trying to save it was because somebody else had a speech writer thatment used is simply miss the point. >> no there were other people who contributed to the speech. >> rose: something about the 47%, how bad was that for you. >> it was bad. it's interesting if you look at the timing of that, it came, the democrats got a great convention balance but then they were trending down. and then the 47% came out. you know, it's just, i understand completely what he was trying to say. the fund raising story in this campaign is something that's another whole story because you never had two campaigns raising
money outside the federal funding. and it's just, it's atrocious the whole system, it has to be changed. >> rose: and it consumed a lot of the candidate's time. >> far too much time, far too late into the season. and there's a reason we had federal funding and both sides grind about it but stuck with it and it's awe shame the obama campaign four years ago walked away from that. what's interesting i found in these moments of test campaigns, the governor as his character said look this is what i said it came out wrong. he said that internally. he didn't blame anybody else. and then under matt rhodes did a fantastic job coming together. >> rose: this is the campaign manager. >> yes the campaign manager put together a come back plan. look we're the campaign that had been behind michele bachmann, we'd been behind rick perry,
behind people who weren't even in the race. we were steady. those are moments when the campaign can either fall apart and start blaming each other and start yelling in the huddle or get together and hang your head down. >> rose: what about when you're speaking to supporters and you talk about the fact that the obama campaign and the president in a sense buy goodies bought the convention. >> this is what happened as far as i know. i wasn't on those calls, but i've heard a recording of the second call. he had some extended talk earlier in the day with a smaller group. and from what i understand, he was much more expansive about what he had, there's no one reason that we lost. we have to look at different things. and then he was on a second call. and i think that he sort of short handed things in a way that didn't come out the way
that it was intended. it was supposed to be a call not to the public, it wasn't a speech, it was to his friends. i think that at obama campaign did do a very good job of the power of the incumbency. nor was he being critical saying they cheated or did something unfair, it's just what they did. they were careful the way that they handled the hispanic issue of the dream act waivers. >> rose: he criticized him saying this is -- >> i think one should look at the fatality of the message. there's always moments that things don't come out right. and i think that this was a public moment and i don't think it reflected how he would say that if he was asked to articulate it under different
circumstances. >> rose: three last questions. one is i just want to nail this down. let's say we had the storm. and we had the president out there with governor christy and others. and that got a lot of attention. and you believe that had an impact. >> i think the storm did. governor christy was just being a good governor. >> rose: secondly, most people believe that governor romney, ann romney, stuart steafers and matt rhodes believed they were going to win on monday, the day before election, believed they were going to win and were stunned when they didn't. >> well i can't speak for everybody and what you really think, you know campaigns are public and they're private. i can't speak to what people thought when they woke up in the
morning or really thinking about things. we had reason to be optimistic, i would say. we did not believe that the turnout would be as democratic as it was. it was seven i think. we thought it would be closer to plus three democratic advantage. and we thought that it would go our way. you have to be optimistic to be in campaign. you can't go out there thinking you're going to lose. our polling was, you know, polling is not used for betting. it's not used to cover the spread, it's used to guide campaigns. and we had superb guidance, into -- superb. we look at the side effects, you don't ever think it's going to happen. but the final word that i got
from the house and his team was look polling is done what it did do. it's shown it's a close election it could go either way. what you use polling for is to make decisions. i got us through a to mull scious. >> rose: what happens to stuart stevens. >> i want to continue writing and work on campaigns. >> rose: working on the president's campaign is as good as it gets if you have a real role and real influence, if the stakes are important, it's the nation's future. >> working for governor romney was an extraordinary privilege. and it really was an honor. he was in this race for the right reasons. he was in it out of a sense what he could do for the country and to be a small part of that was a great privilege.
but i think that republicans need to, we have a good message, we have to do a better job of getting it out. we need to look at how we need to adjust. but the thing i'll remember is in 2004 in november and december, there weren't a lot of articles written about the inevitability of a democratic president in four years. in fact there are articles written saying republicans had a lock and we're headed to this period and when you've gone through and you realize that you won doesn't make you a genius. i think it's important to remember that we're in a moment now where out of the primaries very strong republicans are likely to emerge. >> rose: who did you like the most. >> i wouldn't touch that. >> rose: where was romney? what happens to mitt romney. >> i'm not sure what the governor -- i think he'll do some writing. and what path he chooses to
take, i don't know. >> rose: you think he wants to remain in public life and play a public role in the conversation. >> i think he wants to play a public role in the conversation. public life, not to the sense of running. you know, he's, it's written somewhere, it's not a bitter gene in the romneys. he really felt he gave it his all and he work extraordinarily difficult, much more difficult than you can realize unless you've been through this process. and i think that he felt that he gave it his best shot. >> rose: what was the conversation with president obama like. >> i haven't spoken to him about it. i don't know. you have to ask him. >> rose: it's good of you to come. >> no, thank you. >> rose: we've been friends for a long time and i thank you for coming to this table on one of the if you are interviews.
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